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Posts in Category: Transit Police

Transit Police

Transit Police welcome new officers 

| Friday, November 06, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Metro Transit Police Chief John Harrington and officers at a swearing-in ceremony at the Union Depot on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015.Mukhtar Abdi spent ten years interacting with the public as a Metro Transit bus operator. He’ll continue to do so, but in a much different way.

This week, Abdi was among 13 men and women who were sworn in as the newest members of the Metro Transit Police Department in front of friends, family and fellow officers.

“I really just wanted to serve the community in a new way, to have more interactions and more engagement,” said Abdi, the latest officer of Somali descent to join the department. 

With the latest hires, the department now has 108 full-time officers. With another 100 part-time officers, the department is among the largest in the state. Transit Police patrol busy transit areas and regularly ride on buses and trains. They can respond to any call for service in Metro Transit’s seven-county service area.

In addition to growing the force, the new class builds on the department’s continuing efforts to diversify and reflect the community it serves. Around half of the new hires speak a second language; there are also three officers of Hmong descent. Six of the new officers are female.

The group also highlights the department’s efforts to build from within, with five officers previously serving as Community Service Officers. CSOs assist officers and police staff while pursuing law enforcement degrees.

“We’re creating a pathway for people right here at Metro Transit to pursue their dreams without having to go anywhere,” Police Chief John Harrington said.

To learn more about job opportunities with the Metro Transit Police Department visit metrotransit.org/police

2015 Metro Transit Police Academy swearing in

Student Pass Transit Police

Harrington named Transit Professional of the Year 

| Tuesday, October 20, 2015 10:05:00 AM

​Chief John Harrington was recognized as Transit Professional of the Year at the Minnesota Public Transit Association’s annual awards on Monday.Chief John Harrington was recognized as Transit Professional of the Year at the Minnesota Public Transit Association’s annual awards on Monday.

Harrington was recognized for his efforts to grow and diversify the department and for strengthening its commitment to community-oriented policing. With nearly 40 years of police experience, Harrington was sworn in as the agency’s seventh chief in 2012.

“I’m grateful for the recognition and the support,” Harrington said. “But this isn’t an individual award. It represents a lot of great work by our officers, department leadership and all our partners both at Metro Transit and around the region.”

Harrington is the latest Metro Transit leader to be recognized by MPTA as Transit Professional of the Year. Deputy General Manager Mark Fuhrmann was honored in 2014 and Jan Homan, Deputy Chief of Operations-Bus, was recognized in 2012. 

In addition to the Transit Professional of the Year honors, Metro Transit received a Management Innovation award for its work on the Student Pass program.

Around 10,000 eligible high school students at Minneapolis Public Schools and elsewhere have received a Student Pass this school year. The pass can be used to ride transit to and from school, work and other activities.

    > Meet Chief John Harrington

    > Student Pass

    > Awards and Recognition

Safety Transit Police

Academy tests, transforms aspiring Transit Police 

| Tuesday, May 26, 2015 12:00:00 AM

Metro Transit Police officers doing classroom work during the 2015 Spring Academy.When Metro Transit Police Chief John Harrington addressed a group of new officers at the department’s latest swearing-in ceremony, he told them a "transformation" had taken place.

"When you came to my office as job seekers you seemed a little nervous, a little less sure," he said. "But you have stood tall and you have passed every test that we have thrown at you."

As the department’s newest full-time officers can attest, there were plenty of trials, too.

Before receiving their badges in front of family, friends and colleagues, the officers had successfully completed several weeks of training as part of the department’s customized academy program.  

The department’s academy comes in addition to higher education and state training that all aspiring officers must complete to become a licensed peace officer in Minnesota. The goal is to ground officers in the department’s expectations and help prepare them for the unique challenges they will face working in transit.

Transit Police work in communities around the metro region, patrolling on board buses and trains, in squad cars, on foot and on bike. Transit Police are available to respond to any and all calls in the department's service area.  

To prepare them for their full-time roles, the department's academy includes courses on firearms, combatives and emergency vehicle operations. Officers also spend time learning about community outreach and cultural awareness. 

"We try to give everybody a skill set and ground them in what we believe is right," said Lt. Jason Lindner, who oversees the department’s academy program. "We provide them a good solid base and give them different tools they can build on from there."

Among the dozen officers who completed the department’s spring academy was Michael Affeldt. Though he had already spent more than a year as a Community Service Officer, Affeldt said he felt much more prepared to begin his full-time role after going through the academy.

"I’m feeling very confident in my abilities," he said. "I think that’s one of the best things about the academy – it not only builds your skills it builds your confidence."

The department’s next academy is tentatively scheduled to begin in mid-September. To learn more opportunities at the Metro Transit Police Department visit metrotransit.org/police.

    > Star Tribune: Metro Transit police welcome new, diverse class

Bus Bus Rapid Transit Community Safety Transit Police

Transit Police going beyond the bus in North Minneapolis 

| Tuesday, February 10, 2015 9:22:00 AM

Metro Transit police officers David Hutchinson and Sidney Jones talk with Dean Rose, who owns Broadway Liqour Store at the corner of Broadway and Penn avenues.Metro Transit patrol officer Sidney Jones didn’t grow up in North Minneapolis. But when he moved here from Kansas City a decade ago he landed squarely in the middle of the community, making his home on Russell Avenue North. 

After experiencing the neighborhood first-hand, Jones jumped at the chance to become a part of Transit Police’s new Northside Community Policing Team.

“I grew up in the inner-city, so I wanted to be able to come back and interact with my community and to be a positive person for some of the youth,” Jones said during a recent afternoon patrol.  “I wanted to be somebody they could look up to and to do the job fairly and respectfully.”

Jones has done that and more since he and fellow patrol officer David Hutchinson began working as the department’s first members of the Northside Community Policing Team last fall. The team is responsible for patrolling a swath of North Minneapolis that runs roughly from Penn to Lyndale avenues and from Olson Memorial Highway to Dowling Avenue North.

While the officers respond to calls, ride on board buses and keep an eye on major boarding areas, one of their biggest areas of focus has been simply interacting with members of the community. Since the Northside Community Policing Team was formed, Jones and Hutchinson have spent time playing dominoes with kids at Juxtaposition, attending community meetings and getting to know business owners.

Hutchinson said the interactions have already started to change the perception of Transit Police.

“People used to think we just rode buses and checked tickets on the train,” the eight-year Transit Police officer said. “It was a surprise when we came into businesses, introduced ourselves and tried to gain a relationship with them.”

Among the business owners Jones and Hutchinson have come to know is Sam Tannos, who owns a convenience store at the corner of Penn and 26th avenues. Tannos has been at the location for six years and said having a strong police presence is critical to his business.

“We love their presence here,” Tannos said during a visit to the store. “It’s a very good idea to have them stop by and see what’s going on.”

Down the street, Dean Rose is also enthusiastic about having Transit Police become a fixture in the community.

Rose’s Broadway Liqour Store was destroyed by the 2011 tornado, forcing the store into a temporary space at the corner of Broadway and Penn avenues. A third-generation North Minneapolis business owner, Rose will break ground next year on a new mixed-use project across the street.

The plan is to incorporate a new station for the C Line Bus Rapid Transit project into the development, so Rose hopes Transit Police will continue working with him on security issues. Many people in the neighborhood use transit, Rose said, and it’s important for the businesses that will be in the building that people feel comfortable riding or standing at a bus stop.

“I think it’s important for the community to see there’s law enforcement out there,” he said. “Having these guys on the street in a visible fashion will really assist us in keeping the peace.”

Establishing such trusting relationships is the entire idea behind the beat policing model. Transit Police have established beats along the Central Corridor and in each downtowns for the same reason.

Jones said he hopes he and Hutchinson are doing now will lay a foundation for future collaboration between Metro Transit and Minneapolis police, business owners, transit customers, bus operators and others in North Minneapolis.

“The more you’re in the area, the more hopefully the community will be comfortable with those officers and coming forward to talk to them,” he said. “I really think we’re breaking ground with this new beat.”

    > Fox 9: Metro Transit Northside Beat fosters community connections

Community METRO Green Line Safety Transit Police

Transit Police geared up for Green Line 

| Thursday, May 29, 2014 10:51:00 AM

Guest post by Metro Transit Police Chief John Harrington

University Avenue looks much different today than it did when I began riding Metro Transit buses as a patrol officer more than 20 years ago. The METRO Green Line promises to bring even more change to the corridor, long the busiest east-west transitway in Minnesota.

While we don't expect light rail to dramatically alter the public safety dynamic in St. Paul, the return of rail service is something everyone along the route must prepare for – including local, county and state police.

Metro Transit Police officers are doing just that, connecting with community members and residents, strengthening partnerships with partner agencies and growing to meet the demands of our growing transit system.

In March and April, Metro Transit and partner agencies held joint emergency preparedness exercises at Stadium Village and Raymond Avenue stations to simulate emergencies involving light-rail. To reinforce safety messages, Metro Transit and St. Paul police in April began an outreach campaign to provide motorists, pedestrians, transit customers and bicyclists the information they need to safely navigate the Green Line corridor. We’ve interacted directly with hundreds of residents and will continue this important work after trains open to the public on June 14.

We’ve also grown the department to keep up with the expansion of transit services. Another 20 part-time officers were sworn in this week, expanding the force to a diverse group of 94 full-time and 100 part-time officers. Many of these officers will work out of our new East Command center near University Avenue, including 22 who will focus specifically on the Green Line and the neighborhoods it serves.

As Capt. Jim Franklin recently told The Star Tribune, the “rail beat concept” will be a key to effectively policing the Green Line corridor. “You get officers that know the area very well,” Franklin told the newspaper. “They know the businesses. They know the community and really will get to know the ridership.”

Building these relationships will be aided by the fact that officers will spend more time than ever patrolling on foot, on bike and on board trains and buses. A number of officers were recently added to our bike patrol squad, which can be more nimble in Green Line’s dense urban environment. In Minneapolis, we are participating once again in Minneapolis SafeZone, a multi-agency effort that provides additional patrols to ensure safety during the busy summer months.

While building personal relationships is important, we are also harnessing data to focus our efforts and using technology more than ever. Each Green Line station and all light-rail trains are equipped with multiple security cameras that can be monitored in real time. Call boxes at each station are available in the event of an emergency.

Like University Avenue, our department will continue to evolve and grow as trains transform the way Twin Cities residents get around. Whatever the future holds our fundamental approach to policing and commitment to providing a safe, secure environment for all who use or interact with transit will never change.

    > Star Tribune: Get a driver's point of view riding alongside Green Line

    > Police Chief John Harrington on MPR's Daily Circuit

    > MPR: Walk, bike and drive safely along the Green Line

    > Pioneer Press: Policing the Green Line: Metro Transit promises cameras, cops, analysis

    > Star Tribune: Police prepare for safety on Green Line

    > WCCO: Officials work to educate public on Green Line safety

    > Fox 9: Officers patrol University Avenue to raise light rail awareness

    > KSTP: Navigating the new METRO Green Line

    > Pioneer Press: Green Line will require safety heads-up by motorists and pedestrians

    > Star Tribune: Emergency-preparedness drill near the U tests response to train-bus crash

    > Pioneer Press: Light rail readies to roll, and St. Paul responders prepare, too

    > KSTP: Crews practice emergency response with light rail derailment situation

    > Star Tribune: Busier, safer St. Paul streets

    > Green Line Safety

    > Transit Police on board and on bike

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